Monday, July 30, 2012

Responsive Classroom Approach/ Printable

I've seen lots of behavior clip charts on Pinterest and TPT.  I don't use that behavior/ classroom management plan.  I've tried it and it just doesn't work for me.
 I used a color system where kiddos could go up and they could go down.  They all started on the color green.  My colors where purple, blue, green, yellow and pink.  Purple was color everyone strived for.  A child on pink was having an awful day.  I had kiddos who would go home often on yellow.  Two parents claimed I was "bullying" their kids.  If you knew me at all, you would know that couldn't be true.  Those little ones were just little stinkers.  Also, my experience with this system is that the classroom focus is on the behavior, not on the learning.  When the kids get home, the first thing the parent was asking was...what color were you on.  I wanted them to ask...what fun thing did you do or learn.  So, after that particular year I went looking for a new behavior/ classroom management plan. 
The approach I found and have adopted in my classroom is the Responsive Classroom Approach

It has changed my classroom for the better and now I don't know how I ever taught differently. 
For those of you who aren't familiar with this approach, I though I would summarize for you.  Basically you model everything.  The kids don't get to use anything until you have modeled it.  I don't mean a simple demonstration.  I mean an in depth investigation, modeling and discussion of each classroom tool and procedure. 
To give you an example.  I model how I want the children to move from their table to the carpet.  First I tell the students what I am going to do...move to the carpet.  Then I model the behavior.  I usually model it more than once.  The class then makes an anchor chart that summarizes all the steps of moving to the carpet. 
Stand up, push in your chair, walk quietly to the carpet, find your spot, sit quietly in your spot, sit facing the rocking chair, sit with your legs criss crossed, put your hands in your lap, wait for instruction. 
We then practice lots and lots of times until everyone has it down. 
The next day, I model it again and we practice again. 
As I said, I do this for every classroom tool and procedure. 

Yep, it takes forever and yes, it works.  My kiddos are in kindergarten, so I would be modeling most of this anyway. However, my kiddos have been shown exactly what my expectations are...and they meet them.   

Do I have behavior issues?
Yes.  I still do.  I use a "time out" system.  Not the kind of time out that The Nanny uses.  Kinda different.  When I see someone who needs to regroup or be redirected, I kindly tell them to visit the "polka dot rug."  I have two of these little bathroom rugs that I got at Ikea.  The kids go quietly to the rug, count to 20 (this number increases as the year progresses) and quietly returns to the activity at hand.  They may not question me at that time.  I do not tell them to think about what they did.  That just makes them mad/ madder.  Yes, I model this like crazy and depending on my class, I introduce those rugs as early as the second day of school.  Everyone will visit the "polka dot rug" at some time during the first week of school.  I try very hard to take the negative stigma from the rug and yes, I do visit the rug myself. 
I also use logical consequences in my classroom.  For example, if a student doesn't use scissors correctly...he loses his scissors for the day.  Try doing your classwork without scissors for a day and that student learns pretty quickly not to mess around with his scissors again.
Most behavior issues are handled in my room right when they occur. 
I do have the occasional little stinker and I might need some parental support.  I have a behavior ticket that I send home and the parent must sign and return. 
Obviously if a child is hurting another student, being disrespectful or not following the school code of conduct...I will send them up to adminstration.  This happens rarely. 
The Responsive Classroom Approach has lots of different parts.  I am only summarizing a little of it. 
I thought I would share the handout I send home to parents at Back to School Night that summarizes my classroom management. 
If you want to learn more about Responsive Classroom.  Click on this link.  It will take you to their website and some introductory videos.  They also have a few on YouTube.  They also have a blog, newsletter and lots of support materials too.
I love to hear from others who use this approach in their classroom too.  I've only used this approach for two years, so advice is very welcome.  Classroom Management


  1. It definitely is true that the more in depth and the more you model things the better the students are with it. You just have to be really patient and take the time. That's what's great about the beginning of the year, there is more time as you settle back in. I've nominated your blog for an award. Come by my blog to get it. :)
    Cathy :)
    C is for Cookies, Cakes, Children, Classroom, and Crafts

  2. Hi Cindy!
    Thanks so much for being my #50. I just became a literacy specialist for K-5 so I need to brush up on my primary skills. Looking forward to your blog. Guess what...I'm your #50 too!!!

    Enchanted with Technology

  3. I love this approach and I am attempting to implement it in my classroom. The thing is, is that the district mandates that we use a behavior management system and it is figured into your evaluation. That's how I a came across your website-I was looking for ways to circumvent this requirement.

    Also, I am having trouble implementing Responsive Classroom methods. I don't want to give up on it as I saw it done well during Grad school class observations,



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